The Law Society has slammed the government for its failures to tackle the Crown Court backlog, after claiming the pile-up of cases is “shrinking at a glacial pace”.
Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce hit out at the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) after new figures showed there are still 58,450 Crown Court cases waiting to be heard.
The February figures show the government’s efforts to cut the Crown Court backlog has only seen the number of outstanding cases drop by 1.98 per cent over the previous year, from 59,628 outstanding cases in February 2021.
At the same time, the MoJ figures show there are 374,449 cases waiting for a hearing in Magistrates Courts, compared to 409,093 in February 2021.
In a statement, the Law Society president called for “swift investment” as she claimed traumatized victims have been left waiting years to see assailants face justice.
“Decades of underfunding and cuts mean there simply aren’t enough judges, prosecutors and defence lawyers left to cover the huge backlog of cases,” Boyce said.
“Victims and defendants continue to face unacceptable delays. A traumatised victim can be left waiting years to see their assailant locked up, while others lose faith in the justice system altogether.”
The comments come after barristers launched a strike as they claimed the MoJ’s announced investments would not be enough to “keep the wheels of justice turning”. The barrister’s strike is set to worsen the current backlog of cases, and see the system face further delays.